Speakin in an exclusive interview on The Osasu Show, the outspoken Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has alleged that Nigeria went into economic recession under former President Goodluck Jonathan but that the government only covered it up by saying it was cash-strapped.
The former River state governor who was then the chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), said finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala begged him to stop saying Nigeria was broke at the time, adding that the economy went into a recession due to excessive borrowing.
“People just pick up words without knowing what words mean. Even under Goodluck we went into recession.
“I am one of those who participated in the budget. We looked at what happened in the past and we discovered that actually if recession means three times (three quarters of negative economic growth), we have done more than the three times before we came in,” he said.
“The difference is that while our government is transparent and open, we are able to admit that, federal government was saying even to me as chairman of governor’s forum, ‘Amaechi, don’t say that again’.
“If you remember as Governor, I said we’re broke. The minister for finance came to my office in Abuja here and pleaded with me that I shouldn’t say it again.
“That if I said it, it would affect Nigeria in terms of investment that investors will run away. That I shouldn’t say we are broke. I should say we are cashed strapped. That was what Ngozi Okonjo Iweala told me.
“So I knew as chairman of Governor’s forum, that we had gone into recession under Goodluck. I knew as chairman of governor’s forum. And when I open my mouth to say it, that we are broke, she spoke to me not to say it,” Amaechi said when asked about the recession of the Nigerian economy.